"Having a special tea time with loved ones
can be a true delight. Why not have a tea party for the little ones (don't forget to invite grandma and auntie)? Or
invite an elderly neighbor over for tea and cake. There's nothing quite like a nice chat over a cup of tea... It's just
a little thing, but it can mean so much."
All teas (except herbal)
come from the same plant. The differences stem from how they are processed.
How the leaves are processed will determine their
final classification as black, green, and oolong teas. The main difference between the many tea varieties is how much oxygen
the leaves are allowed to absorb during processing. Much oxygen produces dark-colored black teas. Little oxygen results in
green tea. Unprocessed leaves are called white tea.
tea undergoes a full fermentation process composed of four basic steps - withering, rolling, fermenting,
and firing (or drying). First, the plucked leaves are spread out to wither. The withered leaves are then rolled, in order
to release the chemicals within the leaf that are essential to its final color and flavor. The rolled leaves are spread out
once more to absorb oxygen (oxidize), causing the leaves to turn from green to coppery red. Finally, the oxidized leaves are
fired in order to arrest fermentation, turning the leaf black and giving it the recognizable tea scent.
tea is often referred to as "unfermented" tea. The freshly picked leaves are allowed to dry, then are heat-treated
to stop any fermentation (also referred to as oxidation). In China, traditional hand-making methods are still employed in
many places, particularly in the manufacture of the finest green teas you'll find offered here.
tea is generally referred to as "semi-fermented" tea and is principally manufactured in China and Taiwan
(often called Formosa, its old Dutch name). For the manufacture of oolongs, the leaves are wilted in direct sunlight, then
shaken in bamboo baskets to lightly bruise the edges. Next, the leaves are spread out to dry until the surface of the leaf
turns slightly yellow. Oolongs are always whole leaf teas, never broken by rolling. The least fermented of oolong teas, almost
green in appearance, is called Pouchong.
tea is produced on a very limited scale in China and India. It is the least processed of its many varieties.
The new tea buds are plucked before they open and simply allowed to dry. The curled-up buds have a silvery appearance and
produce a pale and very delicate cup of tea.
tea is created
when the additional flavorings are mixed with the leaf as a final stage before the tea is packed. For Jasmine tea, whole jasmine
blossoms are added to green or oolong tea. Fruit-flavored teas are generally made by combining a fruit's essential oils with
black tea from China or Sri Lanka.
Two Factors: Time and Temperature
Suggested ratio is one teaspoon of leaves per cup of water. However, the light and voluminous teas
will taste best with twice that. To steep, please use boiling water (212F) when preparing black, dark oolong and herbal teas.
And it's important to use cooler (180F) water when steeping green, light oolong and white teas. And remember to not over-steep,
or your tea will taste bitter. Rule of thumb is 5 min. for most black, 7 min. for dark oolong and white, and only 3 min. for
light oolong and green teas.
Have you tried Rooibos Tea?
Rooibos (pronounced "Roy-boss"), colloquially known as Red Tea, is an herbal
plant that grows in South Africa. Rooibos is a flavorful, caffeine-free alternative to tea for those seeking to eliminate
caffeine intake. Ours is a top-grade, organic African tea. Why don't you try the Rooibos Sampler?
To shield it against the damaging
effects of air and light, tea should be stored in opaque and airtight canisters. Metal tins seem to function best in this
role. Most of our teas, including our samples, are available in the airtight, UV-blocking tins.